Millfields Park comes to an abrupt halt at the Lea Canal. It‚Äôs as if the city drops away. Across the water is a builders yard consisting of concrete, weeds, and a¬†corregated fence crested with wire. A variety of bird life gathers on this peninsula: crows, swans, geese, cormorants, ducks, seagulls, pigeons, herons.
Occasionally the canal dredgers moor here. Diggers come to lift out the black mud. A few men in hard hats jab at clipboards. But most of the time there‚Äôs nothing to see. Only piles of rubble.
This place is one of those places you could describe as ‚Äėneither here nor there‚Äô and be entirely accurate. It‚Äôs the sketch of an idea waiting to happen. A town planner‚Äôs doodle in pencil on a Friday afternoon.
‚ÄúWhat the hell is this, Perkins?‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúSir, I‚Äôve not decided what to do with this bit of London yet, sir. Ran out of time. It‚Äôs just a scribble really.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúAnd these ‚Äď what are these?‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúI‚Äôve drawn a selection of common British birds, Sir. They‚Äôre nice, aren‚Äôt they?‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúChrist almighty, Perkins. It‚Äôs a bloody mess. But this‚Äôll have to do.‚ÄĚ
Benches are placed on the towpath so you can sit and stare across the canal at this concrete nothingness, soak up the in-between-ness of it all. But not many people do. It‚Äôs an acquired taste.